By Dianna Cahn
Copyright 2014 The Virginian-Pilot
NORFOLK, Va. — It took just seconds from the time the crew noticed a problem to the moment the helicopter hit the water.
Too quick to figure out what was wrong. Too quick to try to minimize the impact as the chopper smacked into the ocean and quickly submerged.
Under the surface, Navy helicopter gunner Dylan Boone reached down in the darkness of the sunken fuselage to unlatch his security belt.
He didn't take stock of his injured arm, his head — ripped open — or his torn shoulder. In that silent chaos, Boone took stock of the direction his life had taken — how he'd strayed into bad behavior and everything at home was falling apart.
"Let my wife know that I love her," he prayed, and he swam toward a glimmer of filtered light that guided him up to the surface of the Atlantic Ocean.
As he reached air on that frigid January day, it hit him: He needed to turn his life around. He'd been given a second chance to make things right with himself, with his family — and with God.
"I had clarity that Lord, I need to get my life straight and I need to be a better husband and I need to be a better man and a better Christian," Boone told pastor Craig Walker during a videotaped interview at Upward Church in Norfolk. The church posted the 39-minute clip — the first public statement from a crew member since the crash — on its website this weekend.